Fluid Film or Magnetic Bearing Application
Fluid film and active magnetic bearings are applied on motors from a few hundred kilowatts to tens of megawatts.
Fluid film bearings are the typical solution when a lubrication system is present for a gearbox or driven machine. Active magnetic bearings represent the natural choice for oil-free turbomachinery trains, either with standalone units or integrated within the same housing.
Bearings products can include embedded instrumentation for temperature and vibration monitoring and can be offered with a range of sealing solutions and shaft grounding solutions.
Waukesha Bearings applies proven mechanical designs and a wide range of material options to meet specific performance requirements. Tilt pad and fixed profile designs can both be combined with proven sealing products for a leak-tight solution.
Waukesha Bearings offers fixed profile thrust bearings for lightly loaded applications and advanced tilting pad solutions for more demanding operating conditions. Smaller motors, particularly in vertical submersible motor/pump sets, use polymer or ceramic bearings for load-carrying capability and long life.
Waukesha Bearings horizontal bearing assemblies include highly customized journal or combined journal and thrust bearings designed to interface with an external pressurized oil system or operate as a fully self-contained unit.
Active Magnetic Bearings
Active magnetic bearings offer the broadest operating range and are ideal for frequent restarts in cold and harsh environments. The advanced control algorithms offered by Waukesha magnetic bearings allow the machine to operate continuously with very high rotor unbalance levels.
Active magnetic bearings also have low acoustic emissions and power losses and can support multiple cooling and protection schemes for operation in hazardous areas.
Polymer Bearings for Electrical Insulation, Water Lubrication
The high electrical resistance of polymer bearing surfaces can prevent damaging currents from passing through the bearing and housing, eliminating the need for a separate insulation layer. This capability is especially valuable for preventing high frequency circulating currents in motors with variable speed drive.
In water-filled motors, polymer bearings provide an inert solution with high load capacity, without the need for external bearing lubrication. The bearings can be lubricated by the same water cooling the motor.
Magnetic Bearing Case Study
Seventeen years and 20 installations later, Waukesha Magnetic Bearings has played a critical role in extending the life of Groningen, Europe’s largest natural gas field. Our AMB system, built into the compressors and the motors, has provided over 99.9% availability while also reducing energy costs.
Fluid Film Bearings vs. Rolling Element Bearings
A key difference between rolling element and fluid film bearings is expected bearing life. Rolling element bearings typically have a predictable life based on the operating conditions (the calculated L10 life). Fluid film bearings, when properly designed and maintained, can operate for decades.
Fluid film bearings are typically used for high speed and high power motor applications. In addition to providing extended life and dynamic performance, they are characterized by low noise levels.